Eat Nice Life Reminders Pip-Life

Green days

February 14, 2021

Gosh. There has been a lot going on here, so things have been a titch quiet on le blog. I THINK I am starting to settle in more, though. Hopefully this means that I can ease back into the groove of writing each day (here and elsewhere.) Gosh knows the discipline of that makes me feel so much better about the world. 

If you follow me on social media, you will know that I have been doing a little series called On My Bench taking in the view from my kitchen window and the things I have been cooking some days.

I am really loving doing this. It’s such a positive focus for each day (perhaps it replaced blogging for a wee while there?!) and I love cooking for my now-bigger family rather than just for Ari and myself.

Here are some of my favourite On My Bench meals so far … (Shall I call them benchies?!)

Leatherjackets baked with butter, soy sauce, tomato, ginger and spring onions + crunchy, herby bintje potatoes + ratatouille + greens + comeback sauce

samosa party + all the sauces!

lamb curry + matar paneer + kachumber + raita (and noodles in a jar for 4-year-old!)

Apart from that I have been trying to get organised and sort out a life in Tasmania. I lived in Melbourne for 35 years so there has been a lot to sort out and much adjusting to do. That said I feel utterly at home here again, as though the trees and the flowers and the birds and the bees are all welcoming me back. It’s a hard to explain feeling, that one of belonging and returning to the place you grew up after a long absence. Hard to explain, but good to experience. That is for sure.

I’ve been picking up old recipe books from the op shops in my travels and those $1 and $2 scores have been inspiring my cooking and helping me to feel more grounded. Focusing on the simple things will do that for you, don’t you think? Especially after a 2020 full of lockdowns and other upsetting scenarios. Let me cosy up to a recipe for ginger cake or homemade tomato sauce and I’m as happy as a lark. Or a goshawk. Did I tell you about the goshawk? One flew right past my window, slowing down to give me a hawky look and then peeling away into the trees. It was quite the exchange and he had the prettiest feathery belly you ever did see. (Have you read H Is For Hawk? So great! It was one of my get-through-broken-hearted-days must read books.)

I’ve also been finding heaps of 70s and 80s decorating books and plenty of retro kitchenware and pretty vintage fabric. It’s an op-shoppers paradise down here. Not a word of a lie.

During the week we visited the beach I spent much of my childhood on. It was pretty special to go there with my own all-grown-up kids. There were only a few divers and fishermen around, and an elderly couple having a picnic. I paddled and Ari swam and the water was much warmer than I thought it would be.

Later I walked up the hill to look at the two shacks that used to belong to our family (the first two on the hill!) They are being beautifully cared for by their new owners and it looks like they are lived in full-time, which is brilliant. (I miss being able to open the door and smell their smell and enjoy their watery views, though! Even after all these years!)

I went to our market yesterday and bought a big bunch of dahlias yesterday, as well as some blackberries, some blackberry syrup (not as good as the one I made last week!) and some locally-grown field tomatoes.

Today we went to a different market and I bought cherry tomatoes, zucchinis and two china dogs to sit on the mantlepiece. They have gorgeous green eyes and are festooned with blooms. I’m hoping to buy a striped green couch to match them soon. I’m all about green things at the moment, actually. It must be because I am surrounded by so much greenery … I just want to fill up the house with even more green to bring the outside in!

The other day Mum and I went over to her friend Sally’s house to drop off a few buckets of greengages that mum had grown. Sally treated us to delicious elderflower cordial and Anzac biscuits and an excellent chat. Her property is so gorgeous and I can’t wait to go and do a cooking workshop with her one day soon. She just did one on bottling summer fruits which looked amazing.

I am missing Rin so much (she is in Melbourne still, locked-down as we speak) but she and her darling fella are so happy there and have moved into a brilliant house over the fence from family. I think I can handle being apart if she is having nice times (which she is!)

My brother has been helping me to set up a veggie garden in the very big, very wild, very slope-d back yard. He’s been building raised beds for me because he is a total bloody legend. Then he’s been rolling them through the back gate and down the hill into place. Ari’s going to paint them and then we’re all going to form a Saturday bucket brigade and lug dirt from the road that runs behind our place to the beds, to fill them up.

I’m going to plant collard greens (after seeing this recipe on my feel good fave Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil) and a bunch of other nourishing and green things (more green!!) I hope it’s not too late to put them in, but the weather has been so mild I am thinking we should be good to go. I bought the collard green seeds plus a bunch of seeds from Southern Harvest and they arrived in a trice. Some are for now and some are for later in the year. I also bought some seeds from Veggie Garden Seeds on Friday night after a couple of glasses of rosé, so those should come this week. Nothing like a bit of sloshed seed-buying, don’t you think?!

Just wait until I show you the view from my garden once I get things sorted. You will love it as much as I do!!

I’m reading Cider With Rosie and it’s bloody gorgeous and I am loving every single word of it. And I’ve been listening to Molly Burch and John Grant and Aldous Harding and Nick Cave and Marlon Williams. And I’ve been watching Blown Away (Netflix), The Wilds (Prime), Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix) and Paddington with my four-year-old housemate.

I was thinking today it’ll be Easter before we know it. I can’t believe how swiftly the year is flying by already. My Nan used to remind me that the older you get, the faster time whizzes by and of course she is 100% RIGHT! V much looking forward to BUNS!

How are you going, peaches? What are you up to? Tell me in the comments and I promise to write back to each and every one.

xx Pip

PS: I have updated my online shop if you fancy anything! Okay if you don’t, though!

PPS:

Pip’s Comeback Sauce

1 cup of mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of tomato sauce
3 tablespoons of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or similar
1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
a few grinds of black pepper

Mix together and spoon onto anything that needs a kick. Keeps in the fridge for a week or so.

Note: you can swap out the soy sauce for Worcestershire sauce, but we have a vegetarian in the house so we go with soy.

 

8 Comments

  • Reply Edie February 17, 2021 at 10:34 AM

    Oh hurrah for Tassie and all the green things. Green is my very favourite colour! I’m excited about all your news and especially the new vegetable gardens. I think you totally will have a magical kitchen garden in Tasmania, the weather is so good for it. I need to have a samosa party because I’m jealous so am just going to copy that at some point lol. I am doing well and healing and recovering, I may even try to cook something super simple today with beetroot, feta and quinoa because thats what I can see in the fridge.
    Nan keeps coming upstairs saying ‘Are you okay?’ with a startled look on her face! #nanface So cute. And so far she has brought me a salad and cheese sandwich and several pieces of fruit… I have a fruit train on the dresser in my bedroom.
    There is a tawny frogmouth somewhere out the back… we can hear them at night… we still haven’t found them but before my surgery we did tiptoe around trying to see.
    Love to you darling girl xxx

  • Reply Avia February 16, 2021 at 4:15 PM

    Your food, and the energy that makes it possible, always looks so inspiring. But as an American, I have to ask: in the sauce recipe does tomato sauce mean ketchup? I think I will make it, but I have a suspicion you don’t mean pasta sauce, you mean Heinz. Amiright?
    Love you pip

    • Reply Pip February 16, 2021 at 4:17 PM

      YOU ARE RIGHT! Add KETCHUP, petal! And thank you for your kind words … and for reading.
      xx pip

      • Reply Kylie Halford February 16, 2021 at 6:41 PM

        I’m loving your new home and happiness Pip! I’m also all-things-green at the moment and I was reading about green in Sarah Simon’s @TheMintGardener beautiful book, Modern Watercolor Botanicals last week. It’s a wonderful colour filled with hope, growth and life. I hope it fills you with all of these things xx

  • Reply Isabel February 15, 2021 at 6:04 PM

    You sound happy in this post, Pip. And your photos, as always, are beautiful. Really delighted you are down in Tassie and feeling at home.
    I read H is for Hawk last year and was blown away at how amazing it was. It made me want to give falconry a try…ha! Can’t believe you saw a goshawk!
    Things have been better with me. My partner has to quarantine in NSW for 14 days so I’m solo-mumming the toddler this week. Also managed to bust up my toes after walking into a skirting board (so clumsy and stupid!), they are now purple and painful. And my mum and I seem to be having a stand-off over her refusal to take a COVID test. Sometimes things happen in threes, don’t they?! Nice to mentally escape via your pretty pics and heartfelt words xx wish I could eat one of those samosas too

  • Reply Sally Hirst February 15, 2021 at 3:55 PM

    Pip, I’ve followed you for ages, been to one of your courses a few years ago and am now enjoying news of your move to Tasmania. I too think that the sense of belonging, when you go back to a place you grew up in, is very special. I can’t go back to Wales, but the Tasmanian landscape is near enough. I nearly moved to Bruny Island. Still might! Love the insta feasts. Most of all I love your unpretentious blogging style. Thanks for keeping it up!

  • Reply kate February 14, 2021 at 4:35 PM

    Oh Pip, Sally is your friend. You lucky lucky girl.
    That beach looks perfect, what a wonderful place to shack or live.
    I’m having a little insta break, but I was loving your on my bench series, sadly my fella is too fussy for any of your delish looking meals though, so I just read about them and salivate.
    Have I missed something? You have a young housemate?
    Cheers Kate.

    • Reply Pip February 14, 2021 at 6:46 PM

      An Instabreak sounds great! I do that sometimes and it is very soothing and excellent to get away from all the FEELINGS that Instagram sparks. I am living with Ari and Max – and Max’s partner and her little one! So that is the wee housemate I speak of. Sally is exactly as you would expect her to be, of course. So warm and clever and curious. A totally brilliant lady!! Thank you for commenting Kate! So nice to chat. Stay well, if you can. x pip

    Leave a Reply